Monday, April 14, 2008

Bush confesses to approving torture

Impeach Bush and Cheney for Torture

On 4/11/08, George Bush told ABC News he personally approved of the approval of torture—including waterboarding—by Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and George Tenet.

"Yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved."

In the wake of this shocking and appalling confession, we've come to a historic moment where every American—and every Member of Congress—must take a stand.

Either you're for torture or you're against it. And if you're against it, you must support the only Constitutional remedy: impeachment.

We don't need a Special Prosecutor when the President has publicly admitted to approving war crimes!

It's no excuse to say, "We can't impeach Bush because President Cheney would be worse." We know that Cheney directly approved torture, so they must be impeached together. If they were convicted by the Senate (or resigned to avoid impeachment), Speaker Pelosi would become President, as prescribed by the Constitution.

It's no excuse to say, "We don't have the votes to impeach Bush and Cheney." Democrats didn't have the votes to impeach Nixon when they started, but when the House Judiciary Committee reluctantly adopted Articles of Impeachment, Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment.

Nor is it an excuse to say, "We don't have time to impeach Bush and Cheney." Bush admitted both his own and Cheney's guilt, and Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and George Tenet are witnesses. There's no need for impeachment hearings—an impeachment resolution based on Bush's confession could go straight to the floor for a vote, just as it did on 11/6/07 when Dennis Kucinich introduced H.Res. 799, Articles of Impeachment for Vice President Cheney.

And finally, it is utterly immoral for Democrats to say, "We shouldn't impeach Bush and Cheney because it would hurt the chances of electing a Democrat in November." Simply stated, politics should never come before the prosecution of torture.

Dr. Martin Luther King famously said, "A time comes when silence is betrayal. That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam."

Thanks to Bush's confession that he approved torture, that time has come for us in relation to Iraq.

My email to Congressman Schiff:

I don't consider valid the comparison of impeachment proceedings for Clinton and for Bush. Clinton's proceedings were divisive because they were purely partisan. Bush's impeachment hearings, because they would be initiated by allegations of actual war crimes which resulted in thousands of deaths, would be non-partisan by nature, except for the extreme right wing, a minority of the American people.

Impeachment proceedings would not necessarily result in impeachment. They would simply examine the evidence and make it clear to the people what happened and why. And if no impeachable crimes were committed, the people would be shown clearly why what appeared to be war crimes actually weren't. The proceedings would be extremely informative for people regarding how their government operates and how it is structured and balanced.

As a voter who approves and appreciates your activity in Congress, I urge you to change your mind regarding the impeachment of the President and Vice President. I urge you to represent me and the many voters in your district who want to see the right thing done. I would actually accept Bush being exonerated, fairly, of wrongdoing, because I would have learned from the hearings that my impressions had been wrong, that what actions were taken by the Administration leading up to and during the war in Iraq were acceptable in the context of Constitutional and international law.

Impeachment hearings would be cathartic for me and for a lot of Americans. The nation is already divided. Examining the evidence carefully and publicly would provide healing.

Thanks very much.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Babies accelerate global warming

I know this one's a stretch for you, but if you sit down and think about it for a little while, you'll eventually be able to connect the dots.

Last December, ABC News reported that there is a baby boom occurring in the US. "In 2005, there were two children born for every American woman. Last year, the so-called 'fertility rate' rose to 2.1 children for every woman." Fortunately, the rate is no higher than that. "That's still nowhere near what it was during the height of the baby boom, when the rate hovered somewhere between three and four kids per family."

Between 3 and 4 kids?? Which means that the families having 1 to 2 kids back then were offset by families having 5 to 6 kids. And the families having 0 kids were offset by families having 7 or more kids. Seven kids?? What were they thinking? The logistics alone of feeding and clothing that many kids is staggering. (Crash Ow! Mom! Bang Thump Stop throwing your food! Waaaaaa Hurry up, we'll be late! Whooooooosh Bonk Mom! Bangbangbangbangbang Waaaaaaaa Stop it! Crash)

"Okay," my hypothetical Jennifer says, "maybe those people who have like 17 kids are sort of dumb, but why would my having a baby affect global warming? That's caused by greenhouse gases from factories and cars and herds of cattle. What does that have to do with my baby sitting in a highchair eating mashed peas? My baby won't produce that much greenhouse gas." No, you're right. But do babies stay babies? Generally they grow up and buy SUVs and newspapers and groceries, live in buildings constructed at least partially of wood, and watch TV and turn lights on in the evening. "Okay..." Jennifer concedes, unconvinced. Yes, you're right, one adult's carbon footprint isn't really that big, if that person recycles, turns unnecessary lights off, buys a fuel-efficient SUV, consolidates road trips for running errands, uses public transit to get to work, stuff like that. "My child would grow up knowing how important those things are." That's great. But multiply your adult child's conservative carbon footprint by 300 million Americans and collectively you get a giant carbon footprint.

I believe the fertility rate should drop to 1.5 or even 1 so that the population actually decreases over the years. That alone would significantly slow global warming and reduce some of the urgency for finding new landfills for the trash we generate.

However, from an economic standpoint, a reduction in population isn't always beneficial, since a smaller population produces less revenue overall. Statistically, the higher the IQ and level of education people have, the fewer children they generally produce, and so a reduction in population would likely result in a greater reduction of those with higher levels of disposable income, and less of a reduction among those with less spending money and a greater need for government services. Economies can thrive in huge populations because the more people there are, the more revenue they generate. Substantial revenue can be generated even from people with very low incomes, provided there are enough of them.

For a reduction in population to be as much of a benefit economically as environmentally, there would need to be a greater reduction at the lower end of the income scale, and less of a reduction at the higher end. Jennifer snorts. "So only rich people should have kids?" Actually no, because (theoretically) most "rich people" are lower-income people with insatiable appetites. We don't need more of them. But people with higher levels of education and higher salaries generate revenue more efficiently. One middle-class person might generate revenue equal to what 10 working-class people might generate. With fewer people generating more disposable income per person, the environment and the economy benefit.

But it's difficult to suggest to a community that they encourage educated people to have more kids and less-educated people to have fewer kids. The self-worth of those encouraged to have fewer kids would be significantly affected. They would feel rejected by their own communities. If that encouragement had been a familiar, congenial custom all along in our communities, we would have the environmental and economic benefits of the custom now and there would be no hard feelings. But asking a community to begin encouraging professors and architects to have kids and discouraging hairstylists and truck drivers from having kids would be seen as an attack on our natural right to have a family.

I understand those feelings of rejection and have no foolproof remedy for them, but financial compensation might help those people feel a little better. If a low-income family has 1 child instead of 5 children, their need for government services is greatly reduced, and their tax liability should be reduced proportionately. Currently, a family's tax liability is reduced for each of the children they produce, and it could be argued that these tax breaks are an unconscious encouragement to have more kids. Conversely, if a family's tax burden increases with each child they have because their need for government services increases, a new idea like having fewer kids would be easier to adopt.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Carpe Cranium Political Tees

Political T-shirt designs offering the discerning wearer the opportunity to inject subtle irony into public discourse.

Iraq: Six Months At a Time

Endless war on the installment plan

This video makes it clear: No matter what happens in Iraq, the Bush Administration and John McCain always have the same answer: 6 more months.

They're at it again this week, asking for six more months. But six months won't change anything—except the body count and the price tag.

So please forward this video to your friends, and let's keep the pressure on to bring our troops home.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

10 mind-boggling reasons not to vote for McCain

10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don't)

1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.1

2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."2

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.3

4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe v. Wade. It should be overturned."4

5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.5

6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.6

7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."7

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.8

9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."9

10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.10


1. "The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day," ABC News, April 3, 2008

"McCain Facts,", April 4, 2008

2. "McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq," Bloomberg News, March 12, 2008

"Buchanan: John McCain 'Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi,'" ThinkProgress, February 6, 2008

3. "McCain Sides With Bush On Torture Again, Supports Veto Of Anti-Waterboarding Bill," ThinkProgress, February 20, 2008

4. "McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned," MSNBC, February 18, 2007

5. "2007 Children's Defense Fund Action Council® Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard," February 2008

"McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion," CNN, October 3, 2007

6. "Beer Executive Could Be Next First Lady," Associated Press, April 3, 2008

"McCain Says Bank Bailout Should End `Systemic Risk,'" Bloomberg News, March 25, 2008

7. "Will McCain's Temper Be a Liability?," Associated Press, February 16, 2008

"Famed McCain temper is tamed," Boston Globe, January 27, 2008

8. "Black Claims McCain's Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: 'I Don't Know What The Criticism Is,'" ThinkProgress, April 2, 2008

"McCain's Lobbyist Friends Rally 'Round Their Man," ABC News, January 29, 2008

9. "McCain's Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam," Mother Jones Magazine, March 12, 2008

"Will McCain Specifically 'Repudiate' Hagee's Anti-Gay Comments?," ThinkProgress, March 12, 2008

"McCain 'Very Honored' By Support Of Pastor Preaching 'End-Time Confrontation With Iran,'" ThinkProgress, February 28, 2008

10. "John McCain Gets a Zero Rating for His Environmental Record," Sierra Club, February 28, 2008